Ferguson, Dugan face edge of unknown
NSW's right edge duo of Blake Ferguson and Josh Dugan are unfazed with speculation Darius Boyd is set to line up in the centres alongside Maroons debutant Valentine Holmes in Origin II next Wednesday night at ANZ Stadium.
With Queensland opting to name their squad in alphabetical order rather than a 1-17, the make-up of the backline is still yet to be officially revealed, but the early indication of Boyd shifting into the left centre position to mark up against Dugan has come as a surprise to many.
Not since 2009 has Boyd played a game in the centres in the NRL, and never has the incumbent Australian fullback started in the position at representative level.
"I thought [Will] Chambers did a good job against us a few weeks ago and I've always seen Darius as a winger when Billy [Slater] plays for Queensland," Ferguson said on Wednesday before the Blues' first training session in Sydney.
"I think it will be hard to go from fullback to wing or centre but in saying that he will do his job and only time will tell.
"You have more decisions to make and they're probably the hardest to make because you either go out the back or hit the lead runner and there will be a bit more tackling for him.
"We'll look at some video and try to conjure something up."
After making the transition from fullback to centre himself at representative level back in 2014, Dugan could relate to what Boyd was set to encounter but had no doubt the 29-year-old could adjust to the position.
"I think it's more about the defence side of it," Dugan said.
"Darius is one of those fullbacks that defends in the line a fair bit so I don't think it will be too hard a transition for him.
"He's played on the wing before so playing one more in – there's not a whole lot of difference. It's more just the decision-making.
"It was easier for me in 2014 because I was playing there in club land, but every now and then you do need a breather.
"It's a different sort of fitness getting up and down off the ground and putting your head in certain spots to make those tackles.
"He's a world class player that can play anywhere in the backline so we'll have to do a job on him."
One of the biggest talking points to come out of Queensland's seven changes to the Game One side was the omission of Corey Oates, who along with Dane Gagai were two of the Maroons' best in a dominated outfit.
The Blues peppered Oates with several high kicks, particularly in the first half, and Ferguson was adamant the opposition would not lose out with the inclusion of the Australian winger.
"To be honest I thought Val would have played in the first game, he's solid and composed," Ferguson said.
"That's just how the game went, we didn't try to kick it to the right side, Queensland were going down our left so naturally we kicked to the right."
As documented when the Blues side was announced, it was the first time in 21 years the same NSW line-up was retained and Ferguson said the unchanged Blues were already three days ahead in preparation compared to their counterparts.
"It's always good to have the same guys around you and try to build a combination throughout the series," he said.
"There is more continuity I guess and everyone knows each other so you don't have to muck around and tinker with defence.
"You probably lose three days [at the start of the week] trying to get your inside defence working and figure each other out."